A very big blogger for the New York Times called me amateurish. Can you believe that? I am amateurish, but still. Was that necessary?
Blogging has come a long way in the last few years. When I started writing almost six years ago, I never wanted or planned to be a professional. I just wanted to write about what I know…being retired!
So when I commented on a Times blogger post, I had no idea I had broken some big rule. I asked a question. Yes, I am sure I did break some big rule. Or did I? Could it be that even the big boys don’t know the rules? Could it be that they don’t understand social media and how it works? Or do they live in a lofty place that requires that we just listen when they talk. period? I think some might fail to understand what the term “social media” means.
I write a blog for people who are interested in the senior life style. That is what I know about. Retire In Style Blog is a mélange of articles about life out here where the rubber meets the road and you are getting old. Life on a daily basis is sometimes interesting, sometimes funny, and sometimes a learning process. I don’t dabble in finances or even retirements/assisted living. I don’t talk about Alzheimer’s or dementia. I don’t even think about those things. I know about motels, travel, RV Resorts, small home living, being a grandparent/parent, the snowbird lifestyle and (dare I say) lots of other stuff. So if I writing about my life is amateurish then so be it!
I participate on forums and have both a Facebook account and a Twitter account. I own three domains. I may be amateurish but I am not clueless. So when I commented on the Frugal Traveler’s tweet a few weeks ago, asking about a motel he recommended, he was offended, really offended, and I was surprised at his response. How offended was he? Well, in his weekly blog post in the Times he mentioned my Twitter name and then called me “anti-motel” and amateurish! Ouch! (Oh by the way, what is anti-motel anyway?)
Now here is the deal. I really don’t think he heard my voice in his ears when I asked him if a motel he recommended was clean. Maybe it was his own voice that echoed in his head. I had looked at pictures of the motel on Google and only saw the backside of a rundown motel. I replied to his post, “Are you sure this is clean?….” Here is my advice. Don’t do that. If he says it is good you really need to take his word for it.
In the world of blogging we used to hear about “trolls” and a slam down from readers was not that uncommon. From what I can observe, at least in my world, that sort of thing does not happen as much anymore. The “trolls” have gone to live in a land all their own. Yes, on occasion, a “troll” does pop up in an unexpected place. But the New York Times? Wow!
So why am I talking about this? Because, in my tiny little world of blogging, a putdown by a big site really does a lot of damage. I have hoped that even bad attention can work for me. But I don’t think it will. So I just want to remind everyone that social media like Twitter is a conversation about subjects of common interest. Civility never goes out of style even online. When I ask a question, all I want is just a little more information. That is all! I am not being rude.